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Valentine, Robby - 2014 Bizarro World

ARTIST: Valentine, Robby
ALBUM: Bizarro World
LABEL: Valentine Music
SERIAL: RV201403
YEAR: 2014


LINEUP: Robby Valentine - all instruments, all voices * Johan Willems - additional harmony vocals on tracks 2, 10 & 11

TRACK LISTING: 01 Interlude Bizarre * 02 Bizarro World * 03 Rockstar * 04 You're Tearing Me Down * 05 Deadbeat Boy * 06 Schizophonicated * 07 Trip To The Moon * 08 Close The Door * 09 From Dusk To Dawn * 10 Save Our Souls * 11 Black Rain * 12 The Mistake


2014 has been quite a year for Robby Valentine. What with the stunning Aniday album, the Queen tribute album and now this his eagerly awaited 'Bizarro World' opus which is his first album containing new material since his 2007 release 'Falling Down in Misanthropolis'. As with the majority of his releases the great man has (aside from some additional harmony vocals) done everything himself which is a testament to his latent talent but also his tireless work ethic, also this release (like his most recent works) sees Valentine releasing this album through his own imprint, and without any record company involvement.

The Songs
As with all of Robby Valentine's material this album is big on just about everything, keys, guitars, harmonies and arrangements, and that is no bad thing in my book. Robby has put together a collection of songs that have an underlying theme of alienation and someone (Robby perhaps?) finding it difficult to find a place where one is accepted for who they are. This can be summed up by the statement on the inside of the Jewel case, 'You don't know who you are, where you belong, why you're here.... Welcome to Bizarro World', possibly some soul searching going on here? The level of musicianship is, as always when Robby Valentine is concerned top quality, and the songs definitely themselves match up to that quality. Opener 'Interlude Bizarre/Bizarro World' has a neo classical feel to it, with some Dream Theater like keyboard flourishes included. 'Rockstar' gallops along in fine style, before we get the single from the album 'You're Tearing Me Down' which showcases Robby's pop sensibilities with (dare I say it) an R'n'B groove to it. This track is available as a single from ITunes complete with an unreleased piano version of said track. 'Deadbeat Boy' is a jaunty, Vaudevillian tune which would not be out of place on Queen's 'A Night At The Opera' or 'A Day At The Races'... great fun. 'Schizophonicated' is a guitar led rocker which really hits the spot. 'Trip To The Moon' has an instantly catchy chorus and again show's that Robby is no slouch when it comes to producing top quality pop. 'Close the Door' is the sort of slow burning rock song that Robby is so adept at coming up with. 'From Dusk To Dawn' has a danceable groove to it coupled with the familiar Valentine vocals and harmonies. 'Save our Souls' is another superb rocker before the album's highlight 'Black Rain' which is a truly memorable song with an elaborate arrangement coupled with a marvellous chorus which will have you singing along after the first listen. The album is rounded off perfectly with the power ballad 'The Mistake' which first appeared as a bonus track on his earlier album 'Falling Down In Misanthropolis', before finishing off with a reprise of the title track. Some of the tracks do have keyboard inflections that are reminiscent of Muse which gives the album a very contemporary, modern feel but whilst still retaining that trademark Valentine sound. Robby Valentine certainly has an ear for a great hook/chorus as those on display are so infectious. Top quality throughout, with barely a dip in proceedings.

In Summary
Robby Valentine has once again produced an album of supreme quality. In another are this album would be generating huge sales and perhaps several top 10 singles, but we live in different times which is maybe what some of the song's lyrics allude to, in that here is someone who is finding it difficult to fit themselves (and/or their music) into this world we inhabit where the pre packaged, homogenised pop star rules. Robby Valentine remains a uniquely talented musician whose music deserves to reach a wider audience... This is my album of the year.

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#1 | Jez on October 29 2014 15:17:48
A Spot on Review with my words over at HH pretty much mirroring these (in a lesser way). I can see the nay sayers doubting our enthusiasm and sticking to there play it safe Work Of Art or HEAT albums (both top quality btw), but this is just the reason why this bloke is so good. Yes there are huge Queen influences and flourishes throughout and as you mention, a nod toward Muse as well in spots (no bad thing either), but for the most part this is just brilliant, eclectic, superbly done and the best album I have heard this year so far and one I don't see being beaten.
#2 | machoman on October 29 2014 15:50:53
I attended the release party last Saturday and those new songs sounded so great even when you heard them for the first time. Robby really deserves more recognition especially as you cannot blame him for doing the same album over and over again (pun intended)clap
#3 | roadrunner158 on November 13 2014 15:34:43
Just received this CD (along with Robby's Queen Album). Great and unique songs, no play-it-safe AOR by numbers. However, one aspect that really disturbs me is the absence of a real drummer. The programming is done very well, but still no match for the real thing. I know that it's probably just me and most other listeners won't care, but it really takes away some of my listening pleasure. Still - highly recommended.

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